RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia voters will pick midterm nominees Tuesday for two races that Republicans are targeting in their pursuit of U.S. House control.
There are five primaries in Virginia this year, three Republican races with candidates hoping to unseat Democratic incumbents and two with incumbents facing intraparty challengers.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) expanded its “offensive target list” the day after Virginia elected its first GOP governor in more than a decade last year. The committee added Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) to a list of “vulnerable” House Democrats that included Abigail Spanberger and Elaine Luria.
Who will face Reps. Spanberger and Luria in the Nov. 8 midterms will be decided after polls close at 7 p.m. on June 21.
Both first won their seats during the 2018 blue wave when former President Donald Trump, who lost Virginia in 2016 and 2020, was in office. But their districts have shifted since their reelection wins in 2020 due to the state’s redistricting, raising questions over how they will fare in November.
Six Republicans — lawyer and former Green Beret Derrick Anderson, former teacher Gina Ciarcia, state Sen. Bryce Reeves (Spotsylvania), Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisor David Ross, Stafford County Board Chair Crystal Vanuch and Prince William Board Supervisor Yesli Vega — are running in the newly drawn 7th Congressional District for a chance to unseat Spanberger.
Four GOP candidates — Tommy Altman, Andy Baan, Jarome Bell and state Sen. Jen Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) — are vying to challenge Luria in the reconfigured 2nd Congressional District.
The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has rated the districts as Democratic toss-ups and an analysis from the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) of past statewide elections shows that the 7th District has trended blue and the 2nd District has favored Republicans. Both went for Gov. Youngkin last year, according to VPAP.
In the money race, campaign finance data shows Sen. Reeves has raised the most out of 7th District Republicans with $680,510. But three others — Anderson, Vanuch and Vega — have all brought in over $500,000.
In the 2nd District primary, Kiggans has outraised her competitors by a wide margin. The state senator has brought in more than $1.3 million, almost twice the amount raised by the other three Republican candidates combined.
Rep. Wexton, who also won her seat in 2018, will face Republican Hung Cao, a political newcomer who won a crowded firehouse primary in May to take the party’s nomination in the midterms. Cao, a Vietnamese immigrant and retired Navy officer, hopes to defeat Wexton in a Democratic-leaning district that has most of its voters in Loudoun County.
Democrats have won the new district in previous statewide elections, according to VPAP’s analysis, but Youngkin received about 49% of the vote and narrowly lost it to former Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Four-term Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) in the 8th District and two-term Rep. Ben Cline (R-Va.) in the 6th District are being challenged by members of their own party in the primaries.
Democrat Victoria Virasingh is running against Rep. Beyer and Republican Merritt Hale will square off with Rep. Cline. Two Republicans, Ted Engquist and Terry Namkung will also face each other for the chance to unseat Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) in the 3rd District.